Chocolate Swirl Rolls

chocolate swirl rolls | bread in 5

If you’ve been around here long enough, you know we have a thing for swirled and braided breads and buns. Cinnamon, Pumpkin, Crock Pot, French Toast, and Multi-Colored have all made an appearance over the years. So today we add one more recipe to our collection, and bring you Chocolate Swirl Rolls.

The chocolate dough comes from our Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes A Day book, and does not contain butter or eggs like most of our sweet doughs do. However, a thin layer of chocolate paste adds a swirl of richness, and the two combined balance each other perfectly. Topped with cream cheese icing, this is one indulgent bun.

Chocolate Dough
From Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes A Day

3 1/4 cups lukewarm water
1 tablespoon instant or active dry yeast
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup sugar
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder

Mix the yeast, salt, and sugar with the water in a 5-quart bowl, or a lidded food container.

Mix in the remaining dry ingredients without kneading, using a stand mixer (with paddle) or dough whisk.

Cover, and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses, about 2 hours.

The dough is much easier to handle if refrigerated for at least 2 hours. The dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

For the chocolate filling
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
2 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Generous pinch salt

In a small sauce pan, combine the chocolate and butter. Heat over medium-low until melted, stirring frequently, and then remove from the heat. Add the brown sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir to form a smooth paste. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

For the Cream Cheese Icing
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt
1 cup powdered sugar

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium until creamy. Add the cream cheese and beat again until combined and creamy, with no lumps remaining. Scrape down the sides and add the vanilla and salt, and mix on low until combined. Add the powdered sugar and mix on low again until combined. Scrape down the sides, then beat on medium until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.

Remove 2 pounds of chocolate dough from your dough bucket, and place it on a generously floured surface. Knead the dough a few times, and shape into a ball. Cover with a tea towel and let rest on the counter for 15-20 minutes.

chocolate swirl rolls

Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.

Once the dough is ready, roll it to 1/4-inch thick rectangle. The dough will be very soft and sticky, so use as much flour as needed to keep it from sticking to the counter. Spread the cooled chocolate paste evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2 border around the edges. Starting with the short end of the dough, carefully roll the dough into a log, using a pastry brush to remove any excess flour as you roll (if your dough is really sticky, use a bench scraper to help roll it into a log). Gently transfer the log to the prepared sheet pan (you may need to use a bench scraper or spatula to help move it). Mine fit on the sheet pan diagonally. Chill the log in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, or until firm.

Once the dough is firm, remove from the refrigerator and transfer the log back to the floured surface. Cut the dough into 8-12 pieces (8 pieces will give you larger rolls, 12 smaller rolls) and place the pieces on the baking sheet lined with parchment.

chocolate swirl rolls | bread in 5

Spray the top of the buns with a light coating of cooking spray. Loosely cover the buns with plastic wrap and let them rest between 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, and preheat the oven to 350.

Bake for about 22 to 28 minutes, just until the centers are set when poked with your finger. Let them cool for about 10 minutes before frosting.

chocolate swirl rolls


chocolate swirl rolls

Cover the buns with the cream cheese frosting, and add chocolate shavings if desired. Eat and enjoy.

chocolate swirl rolls

Don’t forget to check out our Craftsy Artisan Bread in Five Minutes class! Learn the secrets to making fresh, artisan-style breads in no time, from classic baguettes to braided loaves and even hearty sandwich breads.


Lesaffre Yeast Corp. (Red Star) provided yeast samples for recipe testing, and sponsors BreadIn5’s website and other promotional activities.

8 thoughts to “Chocolate Swirl Rolls”

    1. Hi Teresa,

      You can bake it as a loaf, or in muffin tins or braid it like a challah or a twist with dried cherries. It is wonderful!

      Enjoy, Zoë

  1. Hi,

    I mixed up the bread dough for Seeded 100% Whole Grain Bread from your Gluten Free Artisan Bread book, page 106. I let it sit at room temperature for a little over 2 hours and it rose beautifully. I then refrigerated it. This morning the dough had totally fallen to the bottom of the bowl. Did I do something wrong or is that normal? Thank you for your help!

    1. Hi Gina,

      That is really normal for our dough. You should get some oven spring when you bake it, but it won’t really rise in the bucket again.

      Thanks, Zoë

  2. Does this recipe make the exact 2 lbs needed for the chocolate swirl rolls? I have all of your cookbooks but we are out of town for the winter and I left them home. Thank you! Love your breads!!!

    1. No, it makes 4 1/3 pounds of dough, a little more than double what you need. You halve it to be close enough.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.